What muscles does the bench press work?

The bench press is one of the main compound exercises. It develops the pectorals (chest muscles) as well as the shoulders and triceps.

How to bench press the right way?

Lie down on a flat bench with your feet under your knees. Your upper back, shoulder blades and bum are touching the bench.

Hold the bar with an overhand grip (pronated), slightly wider than your shoulders. Before you start, make sure to bring your shoulder blades back and down.

Your mid-back might be arching slightly. From here, unrack the barbell and lower it down towards the middle of your chest (without letting the bar touch it).

Don’t drive your elbows out on your way down, they shouldn’t be perpendicular to your body (roughly 75° angle). Press the barbell back up without locking your elbows.

Video demo:

Pro tips:

  • Keep a slight bend at the elbows when you’re pressing the weight up (to protect your joints)

  • Think about keeping your shoulders retracted all the way through the movement

How to tell if you’re doing it right:

You feel it in your chest more than your shoulders and it doesn’t cause any joint pain.